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1. An area of memory used for temporary storage of data waiting to be sent to, or returned from, a device. For example printers typically have buffers (a print buffer), disk drives will cache data in a buffer, etc. Such a buffer can also be used to provide some compensation for different speeds of devices.
2. A temporary storage area in system memory used for passing data to or from a procedure call or another process executing within the system.
3. In a GIS system, a buffer represents the total area within a certain distance of a given feature. Also known as a buffer zone.